Without any medical qualifications, I personally believe that masks can be effective at protecting against the COVID-19 virus for three reasons:
1. Protect from incoming airborne particles.
2. Protect others if you are a silent carrier.
3. Prevent hands from touching face.
The first reason is known to most people, the second reason is overlooked by many, and the third reason is the focus of my idea.
I believe the masks do serve as a reminder for some people to not touch their eyes, nose or mouth with their hands, which might have been in contact with contaminated surfaces from tables, handrails, doorhandles, etc. However, because masks are uncomfortable to wear, there are many people including myself who often need to re-position the mask or take it on and off many times each day. During these acts, hands come in very close contact with the face posing a significant risk. This is problem #1.
It is impossible to touch any surfaces during the day or to avoid the natural tendency to touch our faces. That is why sanitizer and frequent hand washing is a recommended prevention method. But when people return home and take off their face masks, many forget to immediately wash their hands and contaminate their homes. This is problem #2.
To properly protect oneself against the COVID-19 virus, a person should:
1. Ventilate and keep their homes clean.
2. Wear mask & don't touch face while outside.
3. Wash hands immediately upon returning home.
My solution is rather simple. To wear gloves in addition to masks. The gloves and mask should be packed together as individual sets, to ensure clinical condition. Before leaving home, the user will open the package to find both a mask and a clean pair of gloves. Wearing gloves will serve as a much stronger reminder for the user to not touch any part of the face while outside. When returning home or at office, the user can discard the gloves in a rubbish bin before entering the house.